Back to Square One
The Square One Overdrive is a throw-back to the Reuss Cab Drive pedal, which was my take on the unique, late 1970s Boss OD-1 quad opamp circuit
In 2014 I released the Cab Drive as one of my first pedals, after the success of the RSH-02 Rowland S. Howard pedal had catapulted me into business. The Cab Drive didn’t sell well, but I liked it a lot, and I’ve wanted to revisit this fine sounding circuit for quite some time
Since 2014 I have come a long way, and today Reuss is a team of myself and two brilliant electronics engineers, so we couldn’t help taking the quad opamp OD-1 circuit a few steps further than a straight clone.
First thing you might notice is, that the Square One is a three-knob pedal. The OD-1 only had two knobs, and one of its characteristics was the lack of a tone control. So, did we add a tone control to spoil the fun and turn it into a SD-1 clone? No. The ‘HI CUT’ is not a tone control as you know it from a tube screamer or a Boss Super Overdrive. As the name implies, it is a high-cut which bleeds off treble frequencies as you turn it up. It is subtle, and all the way down, the knob has no function. You get pure OD-1 sound. The purpose of the control is to dial out harsh 'ice pick' treble.
Inside the pedal, you'll find a few ‘easter eggs’. There's a ‘fat switch’, which extends the original circuit’s frequency response one octave down, for better bass response. We also added the possibility of setting it to ‘symmetrical’ clipping, via a DIP switch inside, which moves the sound into tube screamer territory (original OD-1 clipping is asymmetrical). Maybe most importantly, we gave the Square One a completely new, switchable clipping option based on MOSFET transistors and germanium diodes. This setting has a bit more ‘hair’, and it sounds more dynamic than the ‘stock’ silicon diode clipping configuration. Personally, I think it’s superior sounding, so I am shipping the pedals in this mode – with the ‘fat switch’ on.
Still, the original circuit sounds amazing too, and I didn’t compromise with the silicon diodes, putting vintage new old stock Toshiba 1S1588 diodes in it – the same as was used in vintage pedals. These have a softer ‘knee’ than current production silicon diodes, giving a less harsh clipping.
At the heart of the Square One Overdrive, sits a rare, long out of production made in Japan Nec uPC4741C quad opamp. The exact same as you can find in vintage Boss pedals.
How does the Square One sound different to a more traditional overdrive in the tube screamer / Boss SD-1 family, you might ask? Well, I hear the difference mostly in the sounds of the low strings, which are tighter and more focused. Overall it seems less muddy. Sharper and a bit more aggressive, but still very, very pleasant sounding. This might be why the old Boss version was a hit with the early 80s metal scene. It's possibly the best overdrive pedal you have ever heard. Very versatile, and great for all-round purposes, both at subtle overdrive settings and when crossing over into distortion territory.
Personally, I think the Square One is one of the finest overdrive pedals that we make, and a safe choice if you are searching for something different and unique in the much overcrowded high-end ‘boutique screamer’ market.
Reuss Square One features and specifications:
The Reuss Square One is carefully handcrafted in the European Union in tiny batches. We have painted and silk screen printed 44 enclosures for the first run.
- 1970s OD-1 ‘quad opamp’ circuit featuring a vintage new old stock Made in Japan Nec UPC4741C chip
- Vintage new old stock 1S1588 clipping diodes
- ‘Fat switch’ inside the pedal for increased low-end response (pedals ships in ‘fat’ mode)
- Switchable between asymmetrical and symmetrical clipping via a dip switch inside
- Alternative MOSFET/Germanium clipping option via internal switch (pedals ships in this mode)
- Extremely high build quality. Completely handmade in the European Union
- Powder coated enclosure in 'sea foam green pearl' with real silk screen printed graphics
- Runs on a standard ‘Boss-type’ guitar pedal 9V power supply or 9V battery (not included). The pedal handles up to 18V from an external power supply for increased headroom.
- High quality Neutrik jacks
- Rugged upgrade quality footswitch (good for at least 30000 stomps)
- Packed in a cardboard box and linen draw-string bag